The Need for Words: Voice and the Text, 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover

The Need for Words

Voice and the Text, 1st Edition

By Patsy Rodenburg


256 pages

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Paperback: 9780878300518
pub: 1993-06-14
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How we speak, what we speak and the impact of the spoken word is the story Patsy Rodenburg tells in this companion volume to her bestselling first book, The Right to Speak, her "Owner's Manual of the Voice." Rodenburg's humane attitude toward her reader and her keen awareness of the anxiety of amateur speakers set this work apart from other books on the voice. She first addresses each of the obstacles which prevent access to language and offers ways to overcome them. Part Two includes "Working with the Text," a series of exercises in which Rodenburg uses the language of Shakespeare, Romantic poetry, contemporary prose and numerous other texts in order to prompt the reader to discover his or her own unique need for words.


"Patsy Rodenburg is a gifted voice and speech coach. In The Need for Words, she provides essential and practical means for getting inside a text and making its need strongly felt by audiences. I do recommend it to anyone who needs to use words with clarity and passion." -- Trevor Nunn, Director

"Playwrights, a complacent lot, tend to think that their text says it all. Grudgingly conceding the role of the director, they still think the words speak for themselves. They don't, and in this excellent book Patsy Rodenburg shows why." -- Alan Bennett, Playwright

About the Author

Patsy Rodenburg teaches at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama, London, and is currently Head of the Voice Department at London's Royal National Theatre, where she has worked with such actors as Ian McKellen, Judi Dench and Daniel Day-Lewis.

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
PERFORMING ARTS / Theater / General